The morning after hot tubing at my buddies house, my group of four other stoked ice climbers headed north in search of some fat ice flows. On the way the discussion in the car converged on my random acts of kindness challenge and what I was going to do for that day. I start each day the same way, having no idea what I’m going to do for my random act. Usually it’s 8 or 9pm before actually I do it. I wonder whether it’s because the most opportunities exist around that time, or (more likely) because I’m under the gun for completing a random act of kindness before the end of the day and I don’t have much time left. So perhaps out of necessity, after 8pm is when I’m the most aware and cognizant of the environment around me.
Today on the way to New Hampshire I decided that I would complete my act earlier rather than later considering we would be out ice climbing all day. So on the way through one of the toll booths I had my buddy (the driver of the Honda Fit) drive through an EZ Pass/Cash lane as opposed to an EZ Pass Only lane so that I could leave a dollar to pay the toll for the next person behind us. I had my buddy say to the toll booth attendant, “Hey, here’s the toll fare for the next person that comes through. It’s a random act of kindness.” The toll booth guy kind of laughed and said, “Yeah sure” and we pulled away.
It was of much debate in the car as to whether the toll booth attendant would actually use that dollar on the next car (there weren’t any cars immediately behind us) or whether he would just pocket it for himself. I guess there’s no guarantee that my random act of kindness ever came to fruition. I’d like to think that he carried out my act but honestly who knows. Was his sense of altruism worth more than a dollar?
We then launched into a debate about “trust” in a city versus a small town. Where I’m from this type of behavior is pretty normal and I wouldn’t have doubted this guy for a second. However, being just outside of Boston, myself and my friends in the car immediately questioned his intentions and his overall character. I wanted to be able to trust him but there’s really no way to tell for sure. That’s just life in a city I suppose, you have to be a little bit more aware of the intentions of those around you. Unlike doing the same thing in Maine, I’ll likely never see that guy again, so what’s his incentive to carry out my random act of kindness? The answer is that I’m not sure. All I know is that my intentions were the same, hopefully that dollar had the chance to be a nice surprise for the next car that came through.